Fresh-shaved from chapel, he wields
The carving knife at Sunday lunch,
Slices the beef-rib like a butcher.
The usual question, asked religiously
Each week. Now, do you want
A little bit of fat? You know it’s good for you.
Our giggles dry up with the gravy.
Still standing, cufflinks out
And sleeves rolled up, his braces
Hoisting too high his trousers,
He raises closed lids heavenwards:
Lord, bless this food.
He concentrates on chewing
Each mouthful twenty times.
Except for the exaggerated
Screech of knife on plate, it’s silent
As prayer. Little children
Should be seen, not heard.
My hunger’s gone.
My thoughts sink down
Through the burnt crust
Of meat and marbled yellow
Streaks of sorrow
To the skewered memory
Of bagfuls of blind kittens
He thrust into the water butt.
It’s cruel to be kind.